US-based media firm Viacom Inc on 31 July acquired 50 per cent stake in Prism TV an entity of Reliance Industries-owned Network18 Group which owns and operates regional entertainment channels in India, including ETV Marathi and ETV Gujarati, for Rs 940 crore.
The transaction was done through Viacom's subsidiary Nickelodeon Asia Holding PTE and Shinano Retail Pvt Ltd, a 100 per cent firm owned by Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited.
"The parties received clearance from India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board earlier this month," Viacom said in a statement. Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd.
Post acquisition, Viacom Inc will hold 50 per cent of Prism TV and the remaining will continue to be owned by Network18 Group, Viacom's partner in the Viacom18 joint venture.
Prism TV owns and operates regional entertainment channels including ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Oriya and ETV Gujarati. All of them were recently rebranded under 'COLORS' umbrella.
The deal gives Viacom a significant presence in the fast growing regional TV sector in India.